REAL FOOD 101: How to Make Buttermilk Ranch Dressing


homemade buttermilk ranch dressing

(This recipe is an excerpt from my book: Real Food 101.  CLICK HERE)

I know that ranch dressing is arguably not in the realm of Real Food 101 for everyone reading here.  But oh my it certainly does hit the spot for anyone who grew up in my family.  We used to put ranch dressing on everything!  It wasn’t just for fries, it was also for salads, meats, veggies, and anything else savory.  The problem: we were eating bottled salad dressing or dressing from restaurants when we were out.

Growing up, the only less-offensive version of Ranch dressing was when we would buy the ranch flavoring packets and at least make our own from mayonnaise and sour cream at home.  But that isn’t much better since the packets contain MSG, the mayonnaise had industrial waste oils in it, and we used to buy fat free sour cream.  It is memories like this that make me feel so grateful that I started embracing whole foods.  To top it all off, I learned that fats are nourishing and healthy.

I like to use ranch dressing for salads of course, but it is also amazing as a dip for vegetables, these GAPS fried cheese sticks, or chicken strips.  You can also use it as a spread on sandwiches, it gives a really great herbed flavor.  I have also drizzled it over any cooked vegetable I have at dinner, like my riff on this recipe for sauteed brussel sprouts, bacon, and pecans.


Equipment Needed:

large bowl
good knife

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

1 cup homemade mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream (find grass-fed dairy here; buy culture starters here)
1/2 cup buttermilk (find grass-fed dairy here; buy culture starters here)
juice of one lemon
large handful chopped fresh parsley
large handful chopped fresh dill
large handful chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon onion powder (buy organic spices here)
1 teaspoon garlic powder (buy organic spices here)
sea salt to taste (buy various natural sea salts here)
pepper to taste (buy organic peppers here)

  1. In a large bowl whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, and lemon together until smooth.
  2. Add chopped parsley, dill, chives, onion powder, and garlic powder and whisk together.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve!

This post is a part of Sunday School, Weekend Gourmet, Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent TuesdayTraditional Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Healthy2day WednesdayThe Mommy Club, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise PlatterFull Plate Thursday, Fight Back Friday, and Fresh Bites Friday.

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.
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  1. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

  2. Quick question for you – I’ve always wondered this and never asked! When you say a handful of chopped herbs, are you talking a handful before you chop it or after? It makes a big difference and I’ve never known what people meant when they say that in recipes! 🙂 Thank you so much! I will be making this this week!

    • That’s a good question! I actually err on the side of more herbs than fewer. So a big handful before chopping would probably still yield a decent-sized handful chopped for me (maybe 1/3 cup?)

    • according to most cookbooks, if a recipe says “1 cup chopped pecans” chop first then measure. If it says “1 cup pecans, chopped” measure first then chop. Hope this helps.

  3. I’ve been on the hunt for a great ranch dressing recipe….and I can’t wait to try this one!

  4. Hi Kendahl,
    I just love a good homemade dressing and your Buttermilk dressing just looks perfect. I am going to make your dressing for Christmas Dinner. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. I am wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

  5. Yay! Thank you so much! My husband is addicted to Ranch dressing… I think at one point he went through a bottle a week all by himself. I’ve been looking for a good real food recipe to try out on him and yours looks scrumptious!

    • Thank you! And yes, from one Ranch dressing addict to another: this one is so yummy! I don’t crave any other kinds when I have this on hand (though it doesn’t usually last long!)

  6. I make a recipe very like this at least once a week. My toddler will eat ANY vegetable provided he has this stuff to dip it in!

  7. I made this and it was SO GOOD!! How long will it usually last in the fridge?

  8. I pinned this! We love ranch and this recipe sounds yummy! Thank you for sharing!

  9. I know this was posted awhile ago, but I just discovered it, and have a question! 🙂

    Could you add a little whey to this and ferment it? If so, how long would you leave it on the counter before putting in the fridge?


    • Oh, that’s a great question! I think it would work, but I have never tried it. I imagine it would be similar to mayonnaise, and you could add whey and let it ferment for less than 6-7 hours. But it’s also already made with probiotic ingredients like lacto-fermented mayo, and sour cream, and cultured buttermilk. I doubt that you need to ferment it. It’s already probiotic!


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